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Koom Valley? That was where the trolls ambushed the dwarfs, or the dwarfs ambushed the trolls. It was very far away. It was a long time ago.

But if he doesn't solve the murder of just one dwarf, Commander Sam Vimes of Ankh-Morpork City Watch is going to see it fought again, right outside his office.

With his beloved Watch crumbling around him and war-drums sounding, he must unravel every clue, outwit every assassin and brave any darkness to find the solution. And darkness is following him.

Oh... and at six o'clock every day, without fail, with no excuses, he must go home to read "Where's My Cow?," with all the right farmyard noises, to his little boy.

There are some things you HAVE to do!

439 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 2005

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About the author

Terry Pratchett

368 books40.1k followers
Born Terence David John Pratchett, Sir Terry Pratchett sold his first story when he was thirteen, which earned him enough money to buy a second-hand typewriter. His first novel, a humorous fantasy entitled The Carpet People, appeared in 1971 from the publisher Colin Smythe.

Terry worked for many years as a journalist and press officer, writing in his spare time and publishing a number of novels, including his first Discworld novel, The Color of Magic, in 1983. In 1987, he turned to writing full time.

There are over 40 books in the Discworld series, of which four are written for children. The first of these, The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents, won the Carnegie Medal.

A non-Discworld book, Good Omens, his 1990 collaboration with Neil Gaiman, has been a longtime bestseller and was reissued in hardcover by William Morrow in early 2006 (it is also available as a mass market paperback - Harper Torch, 2006 - and trade paperback - Harper Paperbacks, 2006).

In 2008, Harper Children's published Terry's standalone non-Discworld YA novel, Nation. Terry published Snuff in October 2011.

Regarded as one of the most significant contemporary English-language satirists, Pratchett has won numerous literary awards, was named an Officer of the British Empire (OBE) “for services to literature” in 1998, and has received honorary doctorates from the University of Warwick in 1999, the University of Portsmouth in 2001, the University of Bath in 2003, the University of Bristol in 2004, Buckinghamshire New University in 2008, the University of Dublin in 2008, Bradford University in 2009, the University of Winchester in 2009, and The Open University in 2013 for his contribution to Public Service.

In Dec. of 2007, Pratchett disclosed that he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. On 18 Feb, 2009, he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II.

He was awarded the World Fantasy Life Achievement Award in 2010.

Sir Terry Pratchett passed away on 12th March 2015.

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Profile Image for Nataliya.
726 reviews11.5k followers
January 27, 2023
"What kind of creature defines itself by hatred?"
That is the overarching theme of Terry Pratchett's Thud! which is indisputably one of his best works - in content and execution and the amount of serious thinking it makes me do after seeing the usual 'mundane' things through the prism of Pratchett's writing.

Like other Pratchett's later works, this book is a departure from the light-hearted humorous comedic tone of earlier Discworld books which initially were just smart and witty parodies of fantasy genre conventions but have easily transcended that since. Yes, the witty remarks, dry humor and the moments of pure comedic genius are still unquestionably there, but the overall tone has changed. It's more serious. It gets angry. It has sharp edges. It's not afraid to bite. It wants to make you think - and maybe chuckle once in a while during it. The comedy this time has met the tragedy.

And no wonder, for the material it tackles is not light-hearted at all.

If I had just one word to sum it up the theme it would be Darkness.
- Of course, the darkness of underground mines and caverns - the obvious one.
- The horrible darkness of bigotry and hatred and prejudice and ethnic conflicts.
- The intolerant darkness of any sort of fundamentalism.
- The oppressive darkness of political intrigues that plow right over the lives of ordinary persons.
- The seductive darkness of mindless revenge.
- And, of course, the hidden darkness that lurks inside each person. Even inside Sam Vimes. Especially Sam Vimes.
"No excuses. No excuses at all. Once you had a good excuse, you opened the door to bad excuses."
Commander of Ankh Morpork City Watch (and also the Duke of Ankh and former Blackboard Monitor), Sam Vimes is a straight-as-an-arrow copper who may not be the sharpest knife in the drawer (so they say, but *they* may not always be right) but who is your go-to man when manure hits the windmill. After all, "When people are trying to kill you, it means you’re doing something right. It was a rule Sam had lived by." He has been through a lot since his days as a cynical disillusioned drunk in the once-dysfunctional Ankh-Morpork Watch. As time went by, he gained a lot - a city that miraculously functions and manages to remain stable, loyal colleagues who became dear friends, and family that provides him the blessing he is afraid he does not deserve. But all things gained can be lost, and that's something that would worry him quite a bit.
"Vimes had never got on with any game much more complex than darts. Chess in particular had always annoyed him. It was the dumb way the pawns went off and slaughtered their fellow pawns while the kings lounged about doing nothing that always got to him; if only the pawns united, maybe talked the rooks round, the whole board could've been a republic in a dozen moves."

And this time Sam Vimes has enough to worry about.

Ankh-Morpork is not a good place to be right now, with tensions from the centuries-old ethnic conflicts (in Discworld fashion, those are between the dwarfs and the trolls) at the all-time high as the anniversary of Koom Valley is nearing. Koom Valley was a place where centuries ago the dwarfs ambushed the trolls. Or perhaps the trolls ambushed the dwarfs. Nobody knows. What they do know is that they are supposed to hate each other - because it's always been so. For them, the battle of Koom Valley never ended, and Sam Vimes would do anything to prevent it from replaying in the streets of Ankh-Morpork.
The no-idea-who-ambushed-whom Battle of Koom Valley seemed like a throwaway joke in the earlier Discworld books. But here Pratchett takes full advantage of it, turning the funny on its head, making it serious and even tragic at times. Because Koom Valley still lives on in the minds of people despite hundreds of miles and hundreds of years, and still claims its victims as the dead bodies pile up and hatred is sparked by those who think they see the light (or rather, the darkness), and riots are about to tear the city apart and turn it into another battle of Koom Valley, and Sam Vimes is not having it, and not even ancient supernatural entities can stop him.
‘Given, then, a contest between an invisible and very powerful quasi-demonic thing of pure vengeance on the one hand, and the commander on the other, where would you wager, say…one dollar?’
‘I wouldn’t, sir. That looks like one that would go to the judges.’
Pratchett's Ankh-Morpork world by the time of Thud! has become incredibly complex and developed - to the point where the portrait of the city in my mind is as vivid as though I have really lived there. The characters are unbelievably alive, complex, multilayered, evolving, developing, growing, and very real (yes, real - despite this being a fantasy world, it's firmly grounded in sometimes whacky reality). Pratchett excels at so seamlessly combining the comedy and suspense and drama and tragedy (often within a single page) that the effect is mesmerizing and undeniably incredibly memorable.
“The important thing is not to shout at this point, Vimes told himself. Do not…what do they call it…go postal? Treat this as a learning exercise. Find out why the world is not as you thought it was. Assemble the facts, digest the information, consider the implications. THEN go postal. But with precision.”

The little details - from the father's unerring love for his child , to Detritus' war on drugs and troll graffiti (“Mr. Shine! Him Diamond!”), to the desperation of a gamer dwarf who is so good playing as a troll in the chess-like game of Thud and who cannot quite reconcile what he is with what he is expected to be, to the little pedantic office clerk with the heart of a lion, to the guilt that can literally kill, to silly discussions about what constitutes art, to Vimes' careful and never ending battle to keep the darkness in despite everything around him that so easily could be fixed by just one flash of mindless rage - all these details combine so beautifully into a fascinating and vivid picture that tells a story so good it's a real (un)expected treasure.

A treasure just like a certain painting by an unfortunate artist whose life can be summed up as such - "Methodia Rascal: born, painted famous picture, thought he was a chicken, died." A treasure because, if nothing else, it makes me think once more about the need for guarding the darkness like a true Blackboard Monitor Watchman.
'Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Your grace.'
'I know that one,' said Vimes. 'Who watches the watchmen? Me, Mr. Pessimal.'
'Ah, but who watches you, your grace?' said the inspector, with a brief smile.
'I do that, too. All the time,' said Vimes. 'Believe me.'


Terry Pratchett is an amazing writer, an excellent storyteller. The craft of writing in his hands is precisely that - not a nebulous semi-magical art (after all, it's got no urns in it, just ask Fred Colon and Nobby!) but a true well-honed masterful craft. And that in my opinion is the sheer awesome greatness. And I love it.

And I will continue finding reasons to quote Pratchett on daily basis. Because he's that good.
“I am the Summoning Dark.” It was not, in fact, a sound, but had it been, it would have been a hiss. “Who are you?”
“I am the Watchman.”
“They would have killed his family!” The darkness lunged, and met resistance. “Think of the deaths they have caused! Who are you to stop me?”
“He created me. Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Who watches the watchmen? Me. I watch him. Always. You will not force him to murder for you.”
“What kind of human creates his own policeman?”
“One who fears the dark.”
“And so he should,” said the entity, with satisfaction.
“Indeed. But I think you misunderstand. I am not here to keep the darkness out. I am here to keep it in.” There was a clink of metal as the shadowy watchman lifted a dark lantern and opened its little door. Orange light cut through the blackness. “Call me… the Guarding Dark. Imagine how strong I must be.”
The Summoning Dark backed desperately into the alley, but the light followed it, burning it.
“And now,” said the watchman, “get out of town.”
————————
2016 edit:

On my reread #8 (!) I still can't help but marvel at the heap of awesome this book is. Undoubtedly the absolute high of Pratchett's writing. This is the book that does not seem likely to lose its relevance in the world like ours, where, sadly, we see the thriving of the hatred and prejudice and insistence on fixating on what separates us from each other fueled by the waves of bigoted populism.

Maybe it will get better one day.
————————
2020 edit:

The more I reread it, the more I love it, and I didn’t think it would even be possible. What a truly brilliant book. Sir Terry, you were a genius indeed.

————
My ever-expanding collection of Pratchett’s Discworld reviews:
- Guards! Guards!
- Men at Arms
- Thud!
- Lords and Ladies
- The Wee Free Men
- Hogfather
- Monstrous Regiment
Profile Image for Matt's Fantasy Book Reviews.
213 reviews2,475 followers
July 25, 2022
Check out my YouTube channel where I show my instant reactions upon finishing reading fantasy books.

Once again, the City Watch always provide a wonderful reading adventure.

Thud! is the 34th Discworld book, and the 7th book in the City Watch sub-series, which is widely accepted as the best of the many Discworld sub-series. While this one didn't quite reach the magnitude of greatness that some of the others have been, this is nonetheless a wonderful book that captures much of the magic that made those others such timeless classics.

Story: 4/5

For much of this book, the story is virtually flawless. As is true for virtually all books in this series, Terry Pratchett is using these books as allegories for real world issues. In this one, the age-old feud between Dwarves and Trolls allows Pratchett to touch on ethnic strife and racism, and does so in an extremely enjoyable way. In this story, Sam Vimes finds himself trying to solve a murder which is the spark that ignites ramping up tensions between the Dwarves and Trolls. It is every bit as witty, interesting, and fun as it's predecessor books and is hard to put down.

Unfortunately, as is true for many Discworld books, it tends to drag on a bit in the ending, which turns out to be less enjoyable as the rest of the book.

World Building: 3/5

The world building in this series has hit a big stand-still in terms of development, with Pratchett for a while now seemingly discussing the same small handful of locations as have already been covered. Nothing new is brought to the table here, but what is here is the same rich environment that fans of this series have come to love.

Fantasy Elements: 5/5

The City Watch books have my favorite fantasy elements in all of Discworld, and this book does not disappoint. The Watch by this point is filled with fantasy characters that interact with each other in such a wonderful way, like the aforementioned Trolls and Dwarves - gnomes, vampires, werewolves, and more. There are also some fun magical elements to this book that I do not want to ruin that are a fun inclusion here.

Characters: 5/5

The characters here are absolutely wonderful. I have come to love them to bits, and am getting legitimately sad that my journey with them is soon coming to an end. Sam Vimes may be my favorite protagonist in all of fantasy, and the members of the watch are all individually unique, hilarious, and deeply lovable. The way they all have different relationships with each other reminds me of watching several episodes of "Whose Line is it Anways", where regardless of the partnership of the cast, you are going to get something absolutely hilarious.

Writing Style: 5/5

The writing style has always been my favorite aspect to all Terry Pratchett books for a couple primary reasons. First, they are comedy books and when the comedy hits, it's a ridiculous fun journey. This one achieves that, and had me smiling from ear-to-ear from start to nearly the end. Second, they are deep books that have underlying themes that are deeply interesting, philosophical, and really make you wonder how one man can be such a genius at writing.

Enjoyment: 4/5

I hate to give this book less than a 5, but the last 1/4 of this book really dragged for me and made me wish it was wrapped up more succinctly. Still though, the first 3/4 are peak Pratchett and absolutely worth the read.

Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,566 reviews55.9k followers
March 30, 2021
Thud! (Discworld, #34; City Watch #7), Terry Pratchett

Thud! is a fantasy novel by British writer Terry Pratchett, the 34th book in the Discworld series, first released in the United States on 13 September 2005.

As the book opens, a dwarf demagogue, Grag Hamcrusher, is apparently murdered. Ethnic tensions between Ankh-Morpork's troll and dwarf communities mount in the build-up to the anniversary of the Battle Of Koom Valley, an ancient battle where trolls and dwarfs seemingly ambushed each other.

Lord Vetinari persuades Commander Vimes to interview a vampire applicant to the Ankh-Morpork City Watch. The new recruit, Lance-Constable Salacia "Sally" von Humpeding, along with Sergeant Angua and Captain Carrot, is attached to the investigation surrounding Hamcrusher's death.

Meanwhile, Corporal Nobbs and Sergeant Colon begin an investigation into the theft of the fifty-foot painting, The Battle of Koom Valley by the insane artist Methodia Rascal, from a city art gallery.

Most of the populace believe the painting holds clues to a treasure hidden in Koom Valley. Nobbs has a new girlfriend, exotic dancer Tawneee; Nobby first caught her eye when slipping an IOU into her garter.

Other subplots involve the tension between vampires and werewolves (new recruit Lance-Constable von Humpeding and Sergeant Angua), and the presence of Vetinari's auditor, A.E. Pessimal, in the Watch House.

Vimes finds himself pressured by Lord Vetinari to solve the murder quickly, before inter-species war erupts in Ankh-Morpork.

Vimes and Sergeant Angua visit the dwarves' under-city mine, where a nervous dwarf named Helmclever draws a mysterious sign in the spilled coffee on his desk.

In a fit of his particular brand of omnidirectional anger, Vimes veers off into the mine where he cuts himself, he supposes, on a locked door. Later, he persuades the deep down dwarves to allow Captain Carrot to be the "smelter" who looks for the truth of the murder.

When Carrot tries to find that truth, however, he is shown a body that was mutilated after death, and a confusing patch of clues.

Angua discovers that a troll really was in the mine at the time of the murder, much to the consternation and fear of the dwarves who claimed a troll did the killing.

This troll turns out to be Brick, who is a gutter troll of the lowest sort, addicted to Troll drugs beginning with "S," (such as Slab, Scrape, Slice, Slide etc.) and who becomes the protégé of Sergeant Detritus.

Angua and Sally soon discover four more bodies in the mine, dwarves clearly murdered by other dwarves.

One of these dwarves used his own blood to scrawl yet another mysterious rune on the back of a door in the mine—the same door that Commander Vimes accidentally 'cut' himself on the other side of. The Deep-Downers flee for the mountains, taking the talking cube they found at the bottom of Methodia Rascal's well, and the painting of Koom Valley.

As a parting shot, they send a squad of their guards to invade the Vimes/Ramkin family mansion and attempt to murder Lady Sybil Ramkin and Young Sam.

The two survive unharmed, thanks to the fighting talents of Vimes and the family butler, Willikins, as well as a dwarf being foolish enough to provoke Sybil's dragons. ...

تاریخ نخستین خوانش روز چهاردهم ماه فوریه سال 2020میلادی

عنوان: دیسک ورلد (جهان صفحه) کتاب سی و چهارم: تود؛ نویسنده تری پرچت؛ موضوع داستانهای نویسندگان بریتانیایی - سده 20م

دیسک ورلد (جهان صفجه)، یک سری از کتابهای فانتزی هستند، که روانشاد «تری پرچت»، نویسنده ی «انگلیسی»، نگاشته ‌اند؛ داستان‌های این سری در جهانی با نام «دیسک‌ ورلد (جهان صفحه)» می‌گذرند؛ که صفحه‌ ای تخت است، و بر شانه‌ های «چهار فیل»، با هیکلهای بزرگ، قرار دارد؛ این فیل‌ها نیز، به نوبه ی خود، بر روی پشت یک «لاک‌پشت غول‌آسا»، با نام «آتوئین بزرگ» قرار دارند؛ در این سری از کتابها، بارها از سوژه های کتاب‌های نویسندگانی همچون «جی.آر.آر تالکین»، «رابرت هاوارد»، «اچ پی لاوکرافت»، و «ویلیام شکسپیر»، به گونه ای خنده دار، استفاده شده ‌است؛

از سری «دیسک ‌ورلد» بیشتر از هشتاد میلیون نسخه، در سی و هفت زبان، به فروش رفته‌ است؛ این سری در برگیرنده ی بیش از چهل رمان (تاکنون چهل و یک رمان)، یازده داستان کوتاه، چهار کتاب علمی، و چندین کتاب مرجع، و مکمل است؛ از این سری، چندین رمان تصویری، بازی کامپیوتری، نمایش تئاتر، سریالهای تلویزیونی اقتباس شده ‌است؛ روزنامه ی «ساندی تایمز» چاپ «انگلستان» از این سری به عنوان یکی از پرفروش‌ترین سری کتاب‌ها نام برده، و «تری پرچت» را، به عنوان پرفروش‌ترین نویسنده ی «انگلستان»، در دهه ی نود میلادی دانسته است؛

رمان‌های «دیسک‌ورلد» جوایز بسیاری از جمله جایزه «پرومتئوس»، و مدال ادبی «کارنگی» را، از آن خود کرده ‌اند؛ در نظرسنجی «بیگ رید»، که «بی‌بی‌سی» در سال 2003میلادی، در «انگلستان» انجام داد، چهار رمان سری «دیسک‌ورلد»؛ در فهرست یکصد کتاب برتر قرار گرفتند؛ همچنین مردمان «انگلیس»، در این نظرسنجی، چهارده رمان «دیسک‌ورلد» را، در شمار دویست کتاب برتر، دانستند؛ تا کنون، از این سری، چهل و یک رمان، به چاپ رسیده است؛ «تری پرچت» که پیش از درگذشتش؛ در ابتدای سال 2015میلادی، از بیماری «آلزایمر» رنج می‌بردند، اعلام کردند که خوشحال می‌شوند که دخترشان، «ریانا پرچت»، به جای ایشان، به ادامه ی این سری بپردازند؛ تا جلد بیست و ششم رمان این سری، رمان «دزد زمان (2001میلادی)» به دست «جاش کربی»، به تصویر کشیده شده ‌اند، اما نسخه ‌های «آمریکایی»، که انتشارات «هارپرکالینز» آن‌ها را، منتشر کرده، دارای تصاویر روی جلد متفاوتی هستند؛ پس از درگذشت «جاش کربی»، در سال 2001میلادی، نقاشی‌های روی جلد کتاب‌های بعدی این سری، بدست «پائول کربی» کشیده‌ شدند

کتابهای اول و دوم: «رنگ جادو»؛ کتاب سوم: «زنان جادوگر»؛ کتاب چهارم: «مرگ»؛ کتاب پنجم: «سورسری (برگردان فارسی جادوی مرجع)»؛ کتاب ششم: «خواهران ویرد»؛ کتاب هفتم: «هرم ها»؛ کتاب هشتم: «نگهبانان! نگهبانان»؛ کتاب نهم: «اریک»؛ کتاب دهم: «تصاویر متحرک»؛ کتاب یازدهم: «مرد دروگر»؛ کتاب دوازدهم: «جادوگران خارج»؛ کتاب سیزدهم: «ایزدان خرد (خدایان کوچک)»؛ کتاب چهاردهم: «لردها و بانوان»؛ کتاب پانزدهم: «مردان مسلح»؛ کتاب شانزدهم: «موسیقی روح»؛ کتاب هفدهم: «اوقات جالب»؛ کتاب هجدهم: «ماسکراد»؛ کتاب نوزدهم: «پاهای خشت (فیت آو کلی)»؛ کتاب بیستم: «هاگفادر»؛ کتاب بیست و یکم: «جینگو»؛ کتاب بیست و دوم: «آخرین قاره»؛ کتاب بیست و سوم: «کارپه جوگلوم»؛ کتاب بیست و چهارم: «فیل پنجم»؛ کتاب بیست و پنجم: «حقیقت»؛ کتاب بیست و ششم: «دزد زمان»؛ کتاب بیست و هفتم: «آخرین قهرمان»؛ کتاب بیست و هشتم: «ماوریس شگفت‌انگیز و موش‌های آموزش‌دیده‌اش»؛ کتاب بیست و نهم: «ساعت شب»؛ کتاب سی ام: «مردان آزاد وی»؛ کتاب سی و یکم: «هنگ بزرگ»؛ کتاب سی و دوم: «کلاهی پُر از آسمان»؛ کتاب سی و سوم: «گوینگ پوستال»؛ کتاب سی و چهارم: «تود!»؛ کتاب سی و پنجم: «وینتراسمیت»؛ کتاب سی و ششم: «بدست آوردن پول»؛ کتاب سی و هفتم: «دانشگاهی‌های نادیدنی»؛ کتاب سی و هشتم: «نیمه‌شب بایست بپوشم»؛ کتاب سی و نهم: «اسنوف»؛ کتاب چهلم: «بالا آمدن مه»؛ کتاب چهل و یکم: «تاج چوپان»؛

در کتاب تود!: با گشودن کتاب، یک کوتوله به نام «گراگ هامکروشر»، کشته شده؛ تنشهای قومی بین «ترول»های «آنخ-مورپورک» و جوامع کوتوله، همزمان با سالگرد نبرد دره «کوم»، نبردی باستانی، که در آن «ترول»ها و «کوتوله»ها در کمین یکدیگر بودند، افزایش مییابد؛ و سی و دو «کوتوله» در برابر هشت «ترول» قرار میگیرند؛...؛

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 09/01/1400هجری خورشیدی، ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Melindam.
611 reviews263 followers
March 6, 2023
Update on 24 Feb 2022:

I started listening to the audiobook again yesterday.... and what terrible, unhappy apropos. Waking up today to find that we have arrived at another Koom Valley, but there is no Vimes or Vetinari to stop the War!! :'(

Update on 1 Apr 2022:
It took me very long to finish. I had to stop occasionally, not because the book is not awesome, but because I kept drawing parallels with what is happening in the world.

The whole experience was cuttingly sharp and deeply sad.


“And yet we say this. Here in the cave at the end of the world, peace is made between dwarf and troll, and we will march beyond the hand of Death together. For the enemy is not Troll, nor is it Dwarf, but it is the baleful, the malign, the cowardly, the vessels of hatred, those who do a bad thing and call it good...”

Original review

For someone like me who lives in a country (Hungary) with its Koom Valley fights (Trianon and all the lost wars) where infinitely corrupt & cynical politicians still do everything to cultivate xenophobia and use pseudo-nationalism & pseudo-christianity (banging our chest and bawling that we are sooo much better than all the hateful "different others" around us and ours is the only true way and we are absolutely right in looking down on and ostracise those lesser beings) to hide all their wrongdoings, pretending it's all for the benefit of "the people", makes this book especially poignant and I so much wish a Lord Vetinari & a Sam Vimes came forward and saved us from ourselves. *SIGH*

Anyways.... putting brooding aside... here we have another City Watch/Discworld book with a heartrending story full of humour, bile, tension, excitement and full of SAM VIMES, who is...., but you probably know by now about the literary love story going on between him and me, so I will spare you. :)

I love pretty much everything about this book and did I mention Sam Vimes? OK, so I did, just so you know I love the fact that Sir Terry manages to give him new dimensions again, when you'd pretty much think it's impossible.

And Death having a near-Vimes experience is practically perfect.

“A VERY ACCURATE ONE. YOU SEE, YOU ARE HAVING A NEAR-DEATH EXPERIENCE, WHICH INESCAPABLY MEANS THAT I MUST UNDERGO A NEAR-VIMES EXPERIENCE. DON’T MIND ME. CARRY ON WITH WHATEVER YOU WERE DOING. I HAVE A BOOK.”
Profile Image for Lyn.
1,850 reviews16.4k followers
January 23, 2019
Sam Vines is one of the greatest examples of leadership that can be found amongst any of the SF/F protagonists in the past 50 years.

Pratchett’s main character of his City Watch sub-series, Commander of the Watch Sam Vines, Duke of Ankh-Morpork, who arose from the captain of the night watch, who used to give part of his monthly check to the widows and orphans of fallen watchmen, is again at center stage in this the 34th Discworld novel first published in 2006 and good enough to get a nomination for the Locus Award in the same year.

Now happily married and wrapped around the little finger of his baby boy, little Sam, Vimes has quit drinking but is still very much the low pretense, practical man of the watch, more at home walking the streets of his city than in the Patrician’s office or gussied up for a court appearance. Pratchett has drawn Vimes as an everyman of leadership, a copper’s copper, able to knock some heads together and also fill out a overtime sheet for a shift.

In this episode of Pratchett’s wildly successful Discworld universe, Vimes finds himself trying to solve the murder of an influential and controversial Dwarf leader. The murder comes on the eve of the Koom Valley battle anniversary, the epic and legendary struggle between Dwarves and Trolls. The Dwarf and Troll communities in Ankh-Morpork are bristling for a fight, as ancient animosities seethe and boil to the surface. Vimes’s leadership is put to the test mightily but Pratchett has drawn him from tougher stuff and this is one of Pratchett's best Discworld novels.

Using the Troll-Dwarf vendetta as an allegory for racism, ethnic strife and real life feuds, Pratchett also explores themes of loyalty, leadership, and extremism. Not just for Discworld fans, this is a good book period.

description
Profile Image for Bradley.
Author 5 books3,905 followers
April 1, 2020
Jeeze, every time I read a Discworld novel, it's always like coming back to a very funny home full of angry dwarves and pissed trolls doing their best to get drunk and start a war over some ancient grudge that no one alive actually understands.

In other words, like Thanksgiving Dinner.

Or something like that.

Indeed, it's actually a police procedural with the glorious Vimes as he tries to stop another civil war on the streets of Ankh-Morpork the best way he can... by cutting through all the red tape and bull-heading his way through every single problem.

Or going berserk while yelling a kid's bedtime story, thoroughly destroying the morale of his enemies.

It's the little things.

I love these books. :)
Profile Image for Tim.
2,107 reviews192 followers
September 24, 2019
Another good listen from the stress of drama by the late Sir Terry Pratchett. 7 of 10 stars
Profile Image for Ms. Smartarse.
579 reviews240 followers
April 19, 2020
Watch Commander Sam Vimes has had just about enough of Koom Valley. It has always been a contentious subject with both dwarves and trolls, but these days even the mere thought of it has become dangerous. Add in a suspicious murder, and the Commander of the City Watch is rightly expecting a full-blown reenactment of the legendary battle to take place at any moment.

Lord Vetinari on the other hand, seems much more concerned with the lack of vampire coppers, or the proper financial audit of the Watch. So the Patrician sees fit to 'throw' one of his most trusted and boring financial inspectors in the mix, because obviously our hero doesn't have nearly enough to worry about.

Yet amidst all this chaos, the most pressing question on the Commander's mind is: how to fit in everything before Little Sammy's 6 o'clock story time?

Where's my Cow?!

Thud! has been one of my least favorite Discworld novels, but reading Carol.'s review of Night Watch, I figured it deserved a second chance. Sure enough, a reread of the books from the City Watch subseries, in the proper chronological order, made a significant difference:
- I no longer pictured Captain Carrot Ironfoundersson as a perpetually mopey guy wearing a carrot costume
Captain Carrot 1st vs 2nd read
- I got all the funny references to previous books
- the political jokes actually hit their mark, this time around

... buuut, I didn't enjoy reading it nearly as much as I did Night Watch. As I had only retained very vague memories from the first reread, I'm fairly certain that the "lack of surprise" wasn't the reason for my lackluster enthusiasm. The lack of Carrot x Angua romantic sub-plot however may have been the cause. While in Night Watch, this aspect was expected, in here I would've wanted a bit more 'tangible' proof of Carrot's feelings, rather than just that one stray comment from Sally.

Score: 3.4 / 5 stars

It's definitely not as boring as I remembered, and for those of you who like to play the champion for the down-trodden, quite a treat.

A 2nd reread, after catching up with the previous books of the sub-series, improved things significantly, unfortunately not quite enough to deserve an additional star in rating. I had previously rated it 2.7/5 stars, back in 2012.

========================================
Other books featuring the Night Watch:
Review of the 1st book: Guards!Guards!
Review of the 2nd book: Men at Arms
Review of the 3rd book: Feet of Clay
Review of the 4th book: Jingo
Review of the 5th book: The Fifth Elephant
Review of the 6th book: Night Watch
Review of the 8th book: Snuff
Profile Image for Algernon (Darth Anyan).
1,477 reviews937 followers
July 11, 2016

The war between the dwarfs and the trolls was a battle of natural forces, like the war between the wind and the waves. It had a momentum of its own.

It's origins are hidden in the mists surrounding the mythical Koom Valley, a place where each side is accusing the other of treacherous ambush, but its recent manifestation has moved to Ankh-Morpork, courtesy of the city's new policies of welcoming immigrants.

Pretty soon some people will be saying: Who let all these dwarfs in here? They undermine our city and they don't obey our laws. And the trolls? We used to chain 'em up like guard dogs, and now they're allowed to walk around threatening real people.

Recent events (Dallas Police killings 2016, Brexit) make this Discworld book published in 2005 almost prescient. Ankh-Morpork is a city about to explode into racial violence after the murder of a dwarf fundamentalist leader by an alleged troll intruder. All of this taking place on the eve of the Battle of Koom Valley anniversary.

Young dwarfs listened to him, because he talked of history and destiny and all the other words that always got trotted out to put a gloss on slaughter. It was heady stuff, except that brains weren't involved. Malign idiots like him were the reason you saw dwarfs walking around now not just with the 'cultural' battle-axes but heavy mail, chains, morning stars, broadswords ... all the dumb, in-your-face swaggering that was known as 'clang'.
Trolls listened, too. You saw more lichen, more clan graffiti, more body carving, and much, much bigger clubs being dragged around.


Malign idiots (Trump?) are pushing the street gangs of trolls and dwarfs towards open violence but Ankh-Morpork has something that we in the real world are sorely missing: a real hero, a man of principle and integrity, a man of common sense and common decency who would not stand back and allow his city to crumble into dust around him, a man even the leaders of the crime underwold in Ankh-Morpork are turning to when the going gets rough. Here is Chrysophrase the troll drug dealer in a scene reminiscent of The Godfather:

An' den I hear my ol' friend Mister Vimes is on der case and I am thinkin', dat Mister Vimes, he may be very insensitive to de nu-unces of troll culture sometimes, but der man is straight as a arrow and der are on him no flies. [...] But der name Vimes ... dat name means a lot. Can't be bribed, he once arrested the Patrician, not der sharpest knife in the drawer but honest like anything and he don't stop digging.

Sam Vimes is rapidly becoming my favorite character in the whole Discworld series and I would vote for him for President in an eye-blink. Sam wouldn't want the job though. He belongs to the City Watch, has dedicated his life to Law and Order and he believes politics stinks.

Politics, courtesy of the Lord Vetinary, is saddling Vimes with a new positive-action recruit representing a hated minority and with an internal audit of the Watch expense accounts. To complicate matters even more, Sam Vimes has to comply with Lady Sybill's request that he sits to have his portrait painted and has to learn to deal with new technology in the form of his Dis-Organizer Mark Five, the Gooseberry TM. . It makes for a busy daily schedule that somehow has to leave a window for the most important thing of all: Sam's six o'clock sharp meeting with his son:

Young Sam was standing up in his cot, watching the door. Vimes's day went soft and pink.

Thud is at its most basic a crime story, with Sam Vimes cast in a Sam Spade type of role and the theme of ethnic war fueled by xenophobia and demagoguery make it a bone-chilling experience. Sir Terry Pratchett though manages to find the humorous side of even the darkest corners of our social conscience, and old characters mix with the new recruits to produce yet another memorable Discworld journey.

Everyone starts on the street. And on the Night Watch, too. Good training. The best there is. A week of rainy nights with the mists coming up and the water trickling down your neck and odd noises in the shadows ... well, that's when we find out if we've got a real copper.

Salacia Deloresista Amanita Trigestatra Zeldana Malifee ... von Humpeding is one of these new recruits. She's a vampire, and a girl, and the traditional racial enemy of werewolves, but Vimes must include her in his team. Sally, as she likes to be known, will ultimately prove to be a valuable member of the City Watch, especially after she makes a guarded pact with her shapechanging Sergeant Angua and with Cheery, the bearded dwarf lady at the Watch reception desk. Their girls' night out in the company of Tawneee, the six foot exotic dancer from the "Girls, Giggles and Garters" night club (the new flame of Corporal Nobby), is as wild as you can expect from this interracial mix:

"We've struck a blow for womanhood, Sally declared loudly. Shoes, men, coffins ... never accept the first one you see."

Similar hidden depths are revealed also by Mr. Pessimal, the mousy auditor nitpicking the receipts of Guard expenses, and by Willikins, the butler at Lady Sybill and Sam's mansion, a useful man to have around if

The clues of the case vary from the gruesome and heartbreaking discovery of new bodies in the illicit mining works the dwarfs are digging under Ankh-Morpork to the quirky references to new-age mumbo-jumbo:

- Do you believe in the healing power of crystals, young man? snapped the woman, raising the club threateningly. [...] You're not a rock hound yourself, Commander?
- I've had the occasional stone thrown at me, said Vimes. I've never bothered to check what kind it was.


Some of the old charm of early Discworld novels can be still found in this more thoughtful and sharp satire in brief sparkles of irreverent fun:

- I'm in deep copro, right? he said.
- Certainly we need to talk to you, said Carrot. Do you want a lawyer?
- No, I ate already.


>><<>><<>><<

No one read the reports. They appear to be what we in the trade call write-only documents.

>><<>><<>><<

The major tonality of the story remains though one that should give us pause and make us reflect on where do we position ourselves on the issues of the day:

What kind of creature defines itself by hatred?

What kind of human creates his own policeman?
One who fears the dark.


Sam Vimes does his duty not because he gets paid, or because he has sworn some oath or because he is an Ankh-Morpork patriot. He does it because he has to live with himself when he looks in the mirror in the morning while shaving. He does it because he knows there is a darkness inside each of us that must not be allowed to get out and roam free.

Beating people up in little rooms ... he knew where that led. And if you did it for a good reason, you'd do it for a bad one. You couldn't say "we're the good guys" and do bad-guy things. Sometimes the watching watch-man inside every good copper's head could use an extra pair of eyes.

Sam Vimes is an inspiration and a role model to his Watch and to his wards in the city. In Discworld it is still possible to have a chance to turn back the tide of hatred. A dwarf and a troll join Vimes in the search for a solution to the old Koom Valley dillema.

Grag (means prophet or shaman in the dwarf culture) Bashfullson rejects the old ways of intransigence: "Some of us move on, sir. Some of us think that darkness isn't a depth, it's a state of mind."

Mr Shine, the troll legendary diamond ancestor, says we must start with ourselves if we want change: "And thus we wear down mountains. Water dripping on stone, dissolving and removing. Changing the shape of the world, one drop at a time. Water dripping on a stone, Commander. Water flowing underground, bubbling up in unexpected places."

Between them they might redirect the violent streak of their people to a game of Thud , giving a new interpretation to the title of the novel:

This is Thud, Mister Vimes, he said, as little stone figures bounced over the board. Dwarfs versus trolls. Eight trolls and thirty-two dwarfs, forever fighting their battles on a cardboard Koom Valley.

I have tried to leave out the practical details of the investigation and the final outcome, focusing instead on the setting and on the main characters involved. I saved the best for last, the most important thing in life and the deciding factor in Sam Vimes' resolution of the case:

This was the book of books, the greatest story ever told. Vimes didn't need to read it anymore. He knew it by heart.
It was called "Where's my Cow?"
The un-identified complainant has lost their cow. That was the story, really.

Profile Image for Julie.
1,904 reviews38 followers
December 25, 2022
10/23/2018 - While I appreciated this volume in this series, I just didn't engage with it in the same way. Compared to the laugh-a-minute "The Last Continent," this one was more sombre.

Update: 12/24/2022 - this was a case of better second time around! I especially enjoyed Sam Vine's developing relationship with his son and how becoming a father changed him. Sam makes a point of arriving home on time each evening for their bedtime ritual of reading the same story together. It's truly heartwarming to read how they interact together and come to know and love one another.

Terry Pratchett writes: "One evening his son had turned and looked directly at Vimes with eyes that for his father outshone the lamps of the world and fear had poured into Sam Vines' life in a terrible wave. All this good fortune, all this fierce joy, it was wrong, surely the universe could not allow this amount of happiness in one man, not without presenting a bill." This was so relatable to me as a parent and brought back memories of bedtime rituals with my own children.

An example of tongue-in-cheek humor: "This young lady wearing two sequins and a bootlace comes up and says she's a friend of yours. I did not know where to put my face." Nobby's response: "You're not supposed to put it anywhere Sarge. They throw you out for that sort of thing."





Profile Image for Lindsay.
1,244 reviews220 followers
March 14, 2020
Part of the Pratchett reread with the SpecFic Buddy Reads group in 2020.

The anniversary of the Battle of Koom Valley is approaching, and tensions between the dwarf and troll populations of Ankh-Morpork are escalating quickly. And this leaves Commander Samuel Vimes and the Watch with a difficult job. A job that only gets worse when one of the dwarf community leaders who is stirring up much of the trouble turns up dead deep under the city with a troll club next tot he body.

This is very much a book of its time, and the last decade or so, as a way to talk about immigrants and cultural values as part of the immigrant experience and particularly when ethnic tensions are rising. It looks at the issues all around, from law enforcement, to community leadership on both sides of increasing and lowering tensions.

There's lots of Vimes stuff here as well, including a bit more of Sybil than we've seen for quite a few books. Vimes as a new parent is interesting as well, particularly how being a father has changed his perspective on life.
Profile Image for Melki.
5,659 reviews2,320 followers
December 7, 2015
"The fighting doesn't start until Koom Valley Day. That's tomorrow."

"Damn, I lost track. Will it affect us down here?"

Bashfullsson coughed politely. "I don't think so, Commander. This area is too dangerous to fight in."

"Well, yes, I can see it would be terrible if anyone got hurt," said Vimes, climbing over a long heap of rotting timber. "That would spoil the day for everyone."


While the main mystery of this one - a dwarf is apparently murdered by a troll - didn't interest me much, there are plenty of other shenanigans to make this Discworld adventure a fun read. I really enjoyed the heck out of Angua and Cheery's Girl's Night Out with a vampire and a stripper, and then there was the memorable road trip to Koom Valley.

Even in Discworld, historical reenactments blow.
Profile Image for Richard.
451 reviews103 followers
August 25, 2015
8/10

Another sterling effort by Sir Pratchett and a solid entry into the Watch sub-series. I feel like I’m being a bit like a broken record when reviewing these books; they’re all well written, filled with humour (some more than others), great characters and overall a great character development arc (again, some more than others. Has Nobby really changed since the first novel, not really). But the repetition doesn’t impact the overall enjoyment, I’ve found this series filled with great moments throughout and only one of the novels hasn’t worked for me and the majority rated at 4*’s.

So, rather than talk about the overall plot of the novel which didn’t impact me all that much after seeing similar avenues in the series already explored (i.e. a murder which means further implications between fractious communities) I thought I would mention two stand out moments/things I took from the book which closely relate to each other in a way.

The first is a scene where Sam is defending his home from intruders but the fear that his wife and son are in the home at the same time as these intruders and may be in trouble led to some of the most edge of the seat moments I’ve read. Not just in this series, in general. I doff my hat to an author who can put a scene like that in to a “comedy” book and make it work so well.

The other is the determination and stubbornness of Vimes spending time at 6pm every night to read to Young Sam, not wanting to let down his son for any reason whatsoever as it would then become something of an easier appointment to break in the future after the first time and later in the book when it becomes harder and harder to keep that promise.

This is all from a man who is introduced in the first novel passing out in the street as a drunken alcoholic (can you be a sober alcoholic?). The way his character has developed over the last 7 books has been quite remarkable, quite a lot can be learnt from him and his actions/morals. Hopefully I’ll be half the dad he is when the time comes!!

These are fun reads but to call them just that does quite a disservice to them and the author. Pick them up and enjoy them for what they are if you wish, peel back a couple of layers for a funnier look at what’s on offer, peel back even more layers to be truly in awe of a great talent at work with a satirical view on life, politics and the world in general. Only one more in the sub-series to go, quite sad times.

If you enjoy this try: “Going Postal” by Terry Pratchett
Profile Image for Grace.
8 reviews1 follower
July 25, 2007
Samuel Vimes, to me, is the most fascinating character in the discworld series - to watch his growth from a disillusioned drunkard in Guards! Guards! up till the current book - fatherhood! I enjoyed it tremendously. I also enjoyed the idea of having the next generation - with young Sam and Tiffany Aching, and trying to imagine little half-werewolf-half-human-brought-up-as-half-dwarf babies... i truly want to get a peek into the future and see what lies in store for the discworld and ankh-morpork. At the same time, i'm not sure if i'm ready to see the end of my favourite characters quite yet - i'm thinking of the way raymond feist handled the jump into the future.

I did have some problems with this book, mainly in terms of pacing and plot devices - but on the whole it was what you'd expect from a typical watch book, with the fascinating addition of a vampire in the watch (!), a character i look forward to seeing in the future books. Didn't quite stand up to Nightwatch, but still had moments - i especially liked the way Vimes reacted to having his family threatened.
Profile Image for Knjigoholičarka.
150 reviews8 followers
November 28, 2017
Volela bih da postoji Fakultet okultnih nauka, Odsek za nekromantiju, Smer za prizivanje mrtvih pisaca, pa da ga završim, dobijem diplomu (uz odbranjen rad na temu "Empirijski utvrđene razlike u ritualima prizivanja pisaca preminulih pre i nakon 1950-te godine"), pa da mogu da otvorim SZUNR* i legalno summonujem Terija Pračeta samo da ga pitam:

- Brate... zašto?




----------------
* - Samostalna zanatsko-ugostiteljska nekromantska radnja
Profile Image for Kaethe.
6,358 reviews454 followers
April 17, 2015
November 17, 2005

"Is that my cow?" I particularly like the side of Vimes who is such a good parent that regardless of what else he must contend with, he makes it a point to be there to read the bedtime book. I'm only sorry my Offspring are too old for the cow book.

Profile Image for Melissa McShane.
Author 58 books737 followers
July 11, 2020
Read 6/28/20: I was listening to this, off and on, as an audiobook, taking my time because, let's face it, I've read this book far, far more times than the three Goodreads knows about, and I know it well enough that there wasn't any urgency.

Then the riots happened. And Thud! suddenly became horribly and almost presciently relevant.

This is a book centering on race relations and the police response to them. For a while, I stopped listening to it because it was just too close to current events. Finally, I was able to go back to it, but for the first time in all my readings, it was Sam Vimes's attitude about police work that I was primarily focused on. His constant sense of watching himself because he knows what evil he's capable of, his care not to allow his position--or the position of any of his coppers--to turn dark, struck me as something our real world desperately needs. As with many things Terry Pratchett chose to write about, I think he had an understanding of why a police force is important (and how corrupt it can become without constant vigilance on the part of everyone involved) that is easily overlooked in the general humor that runs through the Discworld novels.

I came away from this reading feeling unexpectedly hopeful. Our world is not Discworld, and its problems can't be solved as neatly as a fictional book's can, but the ending of Thud! comforts me with the thought that our own solution might not be terribly far away.

Read 6/8/18: The Guards novels in the Discworld series are my favorites, and Thud! is maybe my second favorite of the Guards novels. Maybe third. Maybe first. It depends on the day. I love this one enough that I have trouble articulating why it's my second/third/first favorite. The heart of the story, the truth about Koom Valley, strikes me as a powerful narrative about prejudice and hatred and how easy it is to write ourselves a story that fits our preconceived ideas about the world and the people who live in it. But there's also a lot going on around the edges--Sally, the first vampire in the Ankh-Morpork City Watch, and her rivalry with Angua the werewolf, for example. Or Mr. A.E. Pessimal, the auditor, who discovers in himself depths no one could anticipate. And Vimes himself is always a delight. All in all, it's a book I never regret coming back to.
Profile Image for Marc *Dark Reader of the Woods*.
769 reviews122 followers
April 17, 2022
This is the most intense Discworld book I’ve ever read, and I’ve read them all. The Watch books have always carried a strong theme of combatting racial distrust, and Thud! takes this to a pulse-pounding conclusion. Here, amidst the series’ endgame, Vimes is at his Vimiest, Carrot is at his Carrotest, Angua at her Anguiest, and Nobby is, unfortunately, not at his Nobbliest because his sideline with Tawneee is the one less-high point in the novel. Yes, I did use the correct number of ‘e’s.

It’s unusual to find an exclamation mark in a book title, but this is the merest usage in this book; the climax employs the greatest number of consecutive exclamation marks in the series, I’ll bet. Related to that point, it was a very different experience reading this book as a parent, compared to my first reading fifteen years ago. And on that point, I note that this book, perhaps more than any other Discworld book, is ripe for re-reading, but after a much shorter duration this time.

Sir Terry must have been writing this at the same time as Going Postal, as the two reference each other strongly. In Going Postal, the game of Thud had a side-feature role. Thud! calls back to the well-known saying about when you find a pin which you will of course be familiar with. But Thud!’s roots go back further. I recalled the first mention of the Battle of Koom Valley and the internet helped me place it way back in Thief of Time, although of course the animosity between Dwarfs and Trolls has been baked into the series from the start.
Profile Image for YouKneeK.
635 reviews73 followers
April 18, 2017
Thud! is the seventh book in the Watch subseries of Discworld. Tensions have always been high between the dwarves and the trolls. Now a dwarf has been murdered in Ankh-Morpork, and it looks like a troll might have been responsible.

As with the previous Watch book, it focuses heavily on Vimes, but he continues to be far more likeable than he was earlier in the series so I’m continuing to warm up to him. The story itself didn’t really stand out from the previous books. Yes, it does a good job of portraying the conflict and prejudice that can arise between two groups of people. Yes, it has some great things to say through the use of subtle, and not-so-subtle, humor. The problem is, we’ve seen this quite a bit now in Discworld, particularly in the Watch books, so it’s starting to feel a little repetitive.

The story did hold my interest, and I wasn’t bored, but I don’t think it will be one of the more memorable stories when I’m looking back on the series. Speaking of which, I’m down to seven books, one illustrated novel, and one short story left to read. I started this series a little under a year ago, on April 26. It will feel weird when I finally finish it and I'm no longer a regular visitor to the Discworld.
Profile Image for Karin.
1,330 reviews6 followers
January 4, 2020
Commander Sam Vimes (do not make the mistake of calling him by his married title of Duke!) is back with is fabulous coppers on the City Watch, along with a both an inspector who has come to see if the larger watch is worth the money, and the first vampire lance-constable. Murder and mayhem are not only once more the (dis)order of the day, but trouble is brewing more than ever between trolls and dwarfs as the annual Koom Valley day approaches. This was the day of a historic battle between trolls and dwarfs--long time enemies. But what is worse is that there are some new dwarfs in town tunneling under the city and bad things are going on down there. On the surface, things aren't so hot, either.

I tend to like these books more as I go along in the City Watch series, but also as I have finally learned to read them in a shorter space of time to fit with the pacing of the book. I even laugh out loud at times, and that isn't so easy to do. One of my favourite features in this book is the updated imp run reminder device, the Dis-Organizer Mark five Gooseberry™ that is finally useful, but you can't know how without reading the book.
Profile Image for Ashley.
2,594 reviews1,663 followers
January 10, 2023
This was almost five stars for me, and might very well get bumped up on eventual re-read, but for now it’s holding steady at 4.5 stars, rounded down. It didn’t quite reach the level of profound delightment that I need in order to give a Discworld book five stars.

Mostly what I feel right now as I type this review is sad that this was my last brand new City Watch book, which has been my favorite of the Discworld sub-series. And I am very fast approaching having no new Discworld books at all. If I make it through my planned TBR this year, I will only have two left to read in 2024. This is upsetting. When Terry Pratchett died in 2015 I comforted myself with the thought that he had so many published books, they were practically endless. I know that I have quite a few of his other published non-Discworld books still to look forward to, and there’s always re-reading, but it’s still making me very sad and also making me feel old. At least I feel like with this book, we’re leaving Vimesy and his crew in a good place.

Look, I’m not even going to attempt to talk about the plot here because it’s bonkers. We’ve got Nobby Nobbs and Fred Colon on art theft duty, we’ve got a vampire joining the watch, we’ve got trolls vs. dwarfs, we’ve got Vimes trying to keep the city from blowing up under all of them all while making sure to be home every night at exactly 6 PM to read the same book to his young son, also Sam. All the ingredients that make up a successful City Watch books are there, and it delivers.

[4.5 stars]
Profile Image for Helen 2.0.
263 reviews770 followers
May 17, 2017
I really really love Douglas Adams, and Thud! book came almost as close to my heart as the Hitchhiker's Guide series. Like Douglas, Pratchett is insanely good at saying the most ridiculous things while sounding totally reasonable and stoically serious.
I especially liked the way Thud! focused on Commander Vimes for the most part but went off on tangents with the characters surrounding him. Tawnee, Angua, Brick, and Sybil were all awesome to hear from and kept the book from slipping into boring.
This is the first Discworld book I've read - I liked it. If I read another one though I'd be curious to hear from the world outside of the Watch and Ankh-Morpork.
Profile Image for Pavle.
409 reviews142 followers
March 28, 2022
Ah, Pračete, treba te uvesti u lektiru. Zabavno i smešno, tužno i relevantno, h u m a n o, i sve ono zbog čega volim ovaj deo Disksveta.

5
Profile Image for Olga Godim.
Author 12 books70 followers
March 26, 2016
4.5 stars
A terrific novel. It’s part of the City Watch sub-series, and of course, Sam Vimes, the commander of Ankh-Morpork City Watch, is the protagonist. In this novel, he faces a serious crisis. The city streets thrum with unrest. The dwarves and trolls are ready to turn the entire city into a battlefield. The anniversary of the Koom Valley is approaching.
What was Koom Valley? As all of the Discworld know, it is the site of an historic battle between trolls and dwarves. It happened hundreds of years ago, but the aftereffects still ripple across the Discworld today. The hostilities explode. The tempers fry. And then, a prominent dwarf is murdered. Of course, a troll did it. Didn’t he?
While Sam Vimes and his Watch investigate, some self-righteous dwarves obstruct the investigation. It seems, they don’t want the truth to come out. They want history to repeat itself. They want a bloodshed. Besides, the dwarfs are mining under the city, searching for something mystical. Secrets raise their ugly heads. Politics stir. Young enthusiasts bash each other’s craniums. Even Lord Vetinary is concerned by the Watch’s progress.
The book isn’t a light satirical romp, as most of the earlier Pratchett’s books are. This one is scary in its intensity. The parallels with the current political situation, with the religious and national conflicts all around the world lead into the gray area of doubts. Sadly, we don’t have our own Sam Vimes to bring around the lasting peace.
Still, some scenes of the book are hysterically funny. As the weathered policemen Fred Colon and Nobby discuss art, the reader’s eyes tear from laughter. When they discuss war, it’s not so amusing. When Sam cogitates about a “malign idiot”, a belligerent spiritual leader of the dwarves who incites his compatriots to take up arms, it’s not funny at all.
Young dwarves listened to him, because he talked about history and destiny and all the other words that always got trotted out to put a gloss on slaughter. It was heady stuff, except that brains were not involved.
Sam doesn’t consider himself a hero. Here he disagrees with the majority of Discworld, as well as with the devoted fans of the series, but his contemplation of police work, while a bit self-derisive, has some truth in it.
Coppers stayed alive by trickery. That’s how it worked. You had your Watch Houses with the big blue lights outside, and you made certain there were always burly watchmen visible in the big public places, and you swanked around like you own the place. But you didn’t own it. It was all smoke and mirrors. You magicked a little policeman into everyone’s head. You relied on people giving in, knowing the rules. But in truth, a hundred well-armed people could wipe-out the Watch, if they knew what they were doing.
I’m shivery just thinking about it, about all those terrorists and suicide bombers who effectively killed the little watchmen in their heads. I guess I’m not very optimistic, and neither is Sam Vimes, but he is an honest copper and he has my deepest admiration and utmost respect. I salute you, Sam Vimes, and I bow to your creator.
A wonderfully powerful book.
26 reviews1 follower
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March 22, 2008
Sometimes you gotta shut up and pay attention: Sorry, but when you've entertained, amused and jollied up an entire worldful of sapient entities, you *have* to be allowed every now and then to get a bit serious.

Depends on what makes you laugh, I suppose, but this is not *meant* to be a funny book. Pratchett is doing really serious, relevant and overtly political stuff here. The "funny bits" are no more than the comic relief in the best Shakespearean tradition.

Parallels are everywhere here. You don't need to look for them, they are *obvious*. Considering you're no longer allowed to discuss the real problems of the real world without a screaming mob baying for your blood (you even have to be careful what you name your classroom teddy-bear nowadays, for goodness' sake), you write it in parallel. Like what he's done here.

If you don't like serious, then give this one a miss, but it's one hundred per cent worthy and you'd be missing out on something important.
Profile Image for Kirsten.
2,124 reviews85 followers
February 22, 2008
One of the review quotes on the back of this book says something like, "Terry Pratchett's books are almost always better than they need to be." I think this is a pretty good assessment. If Pratchett's books were nothing more than humorous fluff, I would probably still read and enjoy them, but the added depth of character that he brings to his novels is what keeps me reading them over and over again.

In this enstallment, we find Sam Vimes trying to once again bring a semblance of peace to the chaos that is Anhk-Morpork. The anniversary of Koom Valley, an historic battle between the trolls and the dwarfs, is coming up, and Vimes is doing everything he can to prevent the battle from being re-enacted in the city streets. This isn't easy, especially since a respected dwarf leader has turned up dead, and it looks like a troll may be the culprit. Equally important, Vimes needs to be sure he's home every night to read to Young Sam from The Book, aka Where is My Cow?.
Profile Image for Kathleen.
1,321 reviews29 followers
June 7, 2017
4.5 stars. Great addition to the Discworld "City Watch" sub-series (books listed in order below). THUD features Commander Sam Vimes, Corporal Carrot, and the whole City Watch -- humans, trolls, werewolves, dwarfs, etc.

Happy to say, the story includes several vivid and heartwarming scenes with Sam's wife Sybil, their one-year-old son Sam, and their resourceful butler, Willikins. Throughout this book there's a theme of promise-keeping. Daddy (Commander Sam Vimes) never breaks his word to his child (one mustn't), and he promised Sam that he would always be home by 6:00 pm to read a bed-time story to him. Sam's favorite storybook is Where's My Cow?, which — in the way of children — must be read over and over and over again, until it becomes a treasured childhood tradition.

description

A new member joins the Watch, at Lord Vetinari's insistence, and against the gut instincts of Vimes and Angua. Sally is a gorgeous young-looking vampire who doesn't drink human blood. She's a member of the temperance league, a black-ribboner. A good chunk of the story dwells on Angua's insecurity around the svelte, sophisticated vampire (too much focus on that).

We also meet the mysterious Mr. Shine and Inspector A.E. Pessimal, as well as Nobby's girlfriend, Tawneee (too much about her).

Of course, it wouldn't be Discworld without another murder mystery to solve and a wild adventure (this time with warring trolls and dwarfs in the city and far away in Koom Valley) and enough pithy puns and cynical satire to sink a ship. (Actually, not as many witticisms as seen in prior books, but still enough for me.)

Plot:

In the end, it all comes down to pure cussedness. Determination. Far from home, fighting for his life, surrounded by smothering, summoning darkness, will Daddy find a way to read WHERE'S MY COW to young Sam on time??



Quibbles: Some of the relationships within the City Watch disappointed me a little. Some infighting, jealousy, etc. Sometimes, the tone gets a wee bit teachy / preachy, and some puns have me rolling my eyes, but still, jolly good stuff, complete with political satire and family values.

Plot contrivance: I couldn't swallow that it took days for Vimes to hear the big news that Methodia Rascal's famous 50-foot painting of the Battle of Koom Valley was stolen. (It happened days ago and would have been in the newspaper and the Watch House gossip.) But this allowed the cool scene when Vimes thumped the table in anger, scattering board game and making candles fall over.

See my review of the City Watch series embedded in my review of Guards! Guards!
http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...

Series: Here are the Discworld books about the City Watch, in order:

Guards! Guards! (1989)
Theatre of Cruelty (4 pages, free, online)
Men at Arms (1993)
Feet of Clay (1996)
Jingo (1997)
The Fifth Elephant (1999)
Night Watch (2002)
Thud (2005)
Snuff (2011)
(Series links at https://www.goodreads.com/series/1062...)

Oh--and Unseen Academicals (2009) is not really City Watch, but a few characters overlap.

Related "Modernization" Series: Also, there are some spin-off books that cross-over with the "City Watch" sub-series. These books introduce new-fangled ideas to the twin cities of Ankh-Morpork. The books feature con-man turned hero, Moist Von Lipvig, and a few characters from the City Watch. Going Postal describes the invention and proliferation of postage stamps (loved it) and Making Money, depicts the creation of paper money to replace gold (also very good). Then there is Raising Steam, where Lord Vetinari makes Moist Von Lipvig introduce the steam train to the City, making it popular and profitable (not sure Pratchett wrote it -- not his best).

Also, The Truth depicts the invention of a printing press and the subsequent introduction of widespread newspapers into society. Satire deals with the wholesale acceptance of lies when ink-validated. William de Worde (he-he) is the city's first investigative journalist, sleuthing out possible murder and a plot to overthrow Lord Vetinari. This book does not feature Moist Von Lipvig, but it has some City Watch characters.

Finally, Moving Pictures introduces the film industry to the eager citizens of Ankh-Morpork. This book does not include Moist Von Lipvig. I didn't care as much for it, but it's brimming with satire and some scenes are great.
Profile Image for Althea Ann.
2,232 reviews1,003 followers
August 25, 2013
I believe that this is my favorite Discworld novel that I've read so far! (And I've read quite a few of them.)
This one transcends the one-note satire that many of the Discworld books feature (each one takes on a certain topic - this one has a theme of racial tolerance). This installment of the series also pokes gentle fun at the mystery genre - but, while doing so, is itself a quite good mystery novel!
It actually kicks the crap out of any of the glut of 'paranormal investigation' novels that have become quite the trend of late... by any measure.

The premise - a dwarf turns up dead. The club lying next to his body would seem to indicate that a troll did the job. But wait - that clue is so obvious that it seems it must've been planted. Perhaps it's a plot to discredit trolls? But then - a troll WAS actually at the scene of the crime!

Commander Vimes of the City Watch must investigate - but the particulars of this case aren't the only thing he has to worry about, as he tries to manage the potential conflicts between his employees - especially the werewolf Sergeant Angua and his new vampire recruit - and the city seems to be sliding toward full-blown ethnic conflict.
Profile Image for Grace Dionne.
239 reviews183 followers
October 12, 2022
Definitely not the strongest of the Watch books, but I was enjoying myself a lot more in the second half of the book. Through the beginning and middle, I really felt like we were retreading old ground and while I was interested in where the story would go, I initially felt like this was a less good version of a story that Pratchett has already told in this series. However, the ending was strong, and I think that the overall plot was strong and just took a while to get going. Still an enjoyable read overall 😊
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